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Object number: E.198.1903

Description: This mask was lying over the face of Tjay’s mummy, found undisturbed in his coffin in tomb 275 at Beni Hasan. By the end of the First Intermediate Period (about 2010 BC), the ideal form of the dead, known as sah in ancient Egyptian, was a mummy wrapped in white linen with a mask covering its face. The mask dates to about 2055 – 1985 BC (Middle Kingdom, 11th Dynasty). It was given to the Museum by the Beni Hasan Excavation Committee.

Measurements: 27.5 x 19 x 9cm

Analysis: The mask is made of a layer of white calcite paste covered with scraps of linen impregnated with plant gum. A final paste layer was applied over this, and the ears were modeled in paste. The yellow flesh is painted with an arsenic pigment, probably orpiment. The corners of the eyes are painted with red earth and the cosmetic lines with Egyptian blue.

Commentary: Coming soon.

The mask of Tjay. Collection: Fitzwilliam Museum (E.198.1903). Given by the Beni Hasan Excavation Committee.

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